If you haven’t heard of Ashley Nell Tipton – you definitely will soon. The 24-year old from San Diego became the first ever plus size designer to win US reality show ‘Project Runway’ last week in its 14-season history.
Her (winning) collection that she showcased during New York Fashion Week in September won over fashion elite – including Heidi Klum and Zac Pason – with her revolutionary plus-size designs inspired by Mexico City. Floral headpieces and candy coloured lace dress? We love!
‘I’m trying to put plus-size on the map,” Ashley said after her win. “We can be fashion-forward.”
And now after receiving her $100,000 cash prize from the show, she’s set to launch her own collection for women size 14 and up.
“I definitely feel like I’m representing for the plus size industry,” she says, adding. “It’s just an amazing feeling to know that I’m representing for every plus size woman out there.”
Ashley says she doesn’t want her designs to be ground breaking, not held back or dictated by the past. “I definitely want to go against the grain,” she says, “break those rules and create clothing that is fun for women and shows their personality and just enjoy wearing it and being fashion forward.”
This comes after actress Rebel Wilson, 35, who recently revealed her new plus-sized fashion line [Rebel Wilson for Torrid’] admitted she was frustrated by the lack of options out there. “I’ve never really felt like there’s a brand out there in the plus-size world that is creating cool stuff, that fits well and is good quality yet affordable,” Wilson said. “It’s really only been in the last few years that I’ve seen companies try.”
But despite many viewers were pleased over Ashley’s win, not everyone was happy about it, suggesting it’s just because plus-size is ‘trendy’ that she won.
“People think the only reason I won was because I had a plus-size collection,” Tipton says. “But we also have to think, at the end of the day, my collection was cohesive, wearable and can also go for straight-sized women.”
“I’m a talented designer,” Ashley says. “That is why I won.” By the looks of her standout collection, we could not agree more…
By Emma Firth